Many of you read my article last Friday that criticized Isaac Redman and his potential to be a feature running back. I made my case that Isaac hadn’t yet made it through a full game as a starter without either getting injured, or fumbling the rock a couple of times. At the time, I believe I was right. However Isaac’s performance on Sunday, despite the loss, could be considered his breakout performance, and proved my just plain wrong.
On Saturday I got a tweet mention from @laoverton3 that read: “I read your article, @AdamMeckler, about @ired33 and I think you will be eating your words.”
Well as it turns out, this man was right. After a little fishing, I found out that @laoverton3 is Lester A. Overton, Sr., a former Bowie State coach, who coached all four years Isaac Redman was there, and has coached seven different NFL players throughout his long career as a football coach. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to interview him, especially after it appears I was totally wrong about Isaac’s ability to be a feature back.
The life of a running back in the NFL can be nasty, brutish and short. Drafted in 2008 in the first round, Rashard Mendenhall was supposed to lead Pittsburgh to the Glory Land, but after just a few years has torn is ACL. Pittsburgh fans have been hard on Rashard since taking over for Fast Willie Parker who fizzled out after a few electrifying seasons with the Steelers. Running backs do come back from ACL injuries, but this is the kind of thing that could potentially end Rashard’s career.
Which brings up Isaac Redman, who ran for 121 yards against the Broncos in the Steelers’ Wild Card playoff loss showing the big stage isn’t too big for Isaac Redman. In my interview with Coach O, I search for answers on Isaac by looking in to his past, his work ethic, and his attitude.
The following is an email correspondence between me and Lester A. Overton, Sr. I sent him a series of questions and he did a wonderfully thorough job of answering.
1.) Who Are You?
My name is Lester A. Overton, Sr. I’ve coached football in Prince George’s County, Maryland now for 21 years. I’ve coached at Oxon Hill Boys & Girls Club, Suitland H.S., Eleanor Roosevelt HS, Bowie State University and Gwynn Park HS.
2.) What was your title at Bowie State?
I coached 5 years at Bowie State under then Head Coach Mike Lynn, Jr. My title all 5 years was the recruiting coordinator and I coached the offensive line with Mike Carter. I coached the TEs and Offensive Tackles.
3.) Are you still there? If not, what are you up to?
I’m no longer at Bowie State. I coached at Bowie State from 2004 to 2008. I was there for Isaac’s entire college career.
As you can see when he runs the football, he runs with great determination.
4.) You read my article on why I thought Redman’s injury would be a “big factor” and called me out. I thought Isaac Redman was not feature back material. Redman proved me wrong. How did you know Redman would have a successful game this weekend?
When I read your article, it didn’t shock me that you felt this way because Isaac was an undrafted rookie from a small D2 school in Maryland. The only D2 school in Maryland. I talk to Isaac occasionally, and when we do, he is very humble, but always talks about that one opportunity to show his talents. I didn’t like seeing Mendenhall go down, but when I saw Isaac would be the starter, I knew he would seize the opportunity and shine in the moment. Unfortunately, the team fell a little short.
5.) On Twitter you said Isaac is determined. Can you expand on that a little?
What I meant was that Isaac is determined to show all that he can play in the NFL and be a starter despite him playing at Bowie State. He was determined to represent his Bowie State family and represent himself with determination. At Bowie State, I’ve seen Isaac literally carry 3,4,5 guys on his back and sometimes still not be tackled. I’ve seen Isaac grow over the years facing many obstacles at Bowie State, but still overcome all of them. As you can see when he runs the football, he runs with great determination.
6.) Any predictions of Redman and the Steelers next year?
At Bowie State, Head Coach Mike Lynn always preached this team and coaching staff is all we got. Isaac accepted that and has taken that same mindset to Pittsburgh with his teammates, coaching staff and the SteelerNation. My prediction for Isaac is that he will continue to get better and become a great NFL every down back. Each year he has gotten better with the coaching he has received and because of the person he is and the birth of his son, he will continue to be driven and determined to show everyone. As for the Steelers, they have a strong group of seasoned Champions who I think will re-focus and come back next year even stronger with a push to get back to the SuperBowl. Isaac, if given the opportunity, will be a major piece of the puzzle. I know this because my brother Larry, who has been a Steelers fan since birth and my son Lester, Jr. who has been a Steelers fan since Isaac became a Steeler told me so and I agree 100%.
7.) You’ve coached 7 other players in the NFL. Who are they and what do you think your role was in their development?
Besides Isaac, I’ve coached
RB LaMont Jordan (retired) (Suitland HS/Jets/Raiders/Patriots/Broncos)
WR;Derrick Williams (Eleanor Roosevelt HS/Detroit Lions)
OT,Jared Gaither (Eleanor Roosevelt HS/Ravens/Chargers)
DE,Derrick Harvey (Eleanor Roosevelt HS/Jacksonville/Kansas City)
LB,Will Davis (Eleanor Roosevelt HS/Arizona Cardinals),
DB Ricardo Silva (Bowie State/Detroit Lions)
DE Matthew Rice (Eleanor Roosevelt HS/Detroit Lions/Retired)
DT Thomas Smith (Suitland HS/Houston Texans/NFL Europe/Retired)
My brother and I have coached together for 21 years. Our father used to coach and he always told us that you can’t only be a coach to these young men, You may need to be a father figure, a big brother or just a friend. Either way, you need to teach them more than just football because you will be dealing with them at a learning age in their lives. Our parents are retired teachers and I took their approach to first figure out what role I needed to be in their life and use that to teach them not only the game of football, but also to prepare them for life after football. I focused on stressing and drilling the basic fundamentals of football that I learned from coaching clinics. I don’t yell, I teach. I did my best to make sure they excelled in the classroom and played a major role in helping them get into college. I followed and kept in touch with them through college and still keep in touch with them today.
8.) Anything else you’d like to add?
As a current high school coach and father of two boys, ages 15 and 5, I’ve been blessed that these guys I’ve mentioned and those who didn’t make it to the NFL are willing to give back to me. The way they give back is to reach out to my sons by telling or showing them things that I’ve preached to them over and over again or getting me tickets to a game. Hopefully, in the near future, maybe one of the young men I currently coach at Suitland HS will also become a part of the Steeler Nation or maybe even my son, who is working hard to be a kicker. Shaun Suisham, watch out!
I’d like to give my personal thanks to Coach O for being willing to do an interview for NPC. Coach O seems to me like the kind of man we should all aspire to be. He changes lives in football, and away from football. I am gracious to him for his time and expertise. Maybe we’ll be talking with Coach O again soon.